The deputy leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha, Capt Amarinder Singh, on Wednesday called for a national drug policy to fight the curse of addiction. Taking a dig at the NDA’s agenda, he said there was nothing new in it as these were “repackaged” programmes of the UPA. “This is old wine in new bottles,” he remarked.
Speaking in the House during the motion of thanks to the President’s address, the Amritsar MP and former Punjab chief minister drew attention towards the problem of drug addiction in Punjab. He also referred to Maqboolpura in his constituency where 90% women have been widowed due to drug addiction.
About the anti-drug drive of the Punjab government, he said catching addicts was no solution.
“Addicts need to be put in hospitals... while actual producers and suppliers should go to jail.”
Asserting that there was a need for a national drug policy which he had been “aggressively campaigning for” during his tenure as Punjab CM, Amarinder said there were multiple aspects to the problem. He said drugs were coming from across the border with Pakistan and also from states like Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. He pointed out there was no ban in Madhya Pradesh on producing and trading in drugs, whereas these were being legally traded in Rajasthan from where these were reaching Punjab, “where drugs have destroyed almost an entire generation”.
ON NDA CLAIMS
He questioned the claims of the NDA of providing one rankone pension to ex-serviceman, pointing out that this had been done by the previous UPA government and the entire process had already been completed.
Referring to the agenda spelt out by the NDA, Amarinder said the government needed to substantiate these claims, particularly as how they were going to build 100 new cities in five years.
He also remarked that the government should have made a mention of various welfare schemes of the UPA regime.
GODHRA AND MONSOON, AND A ‘WINE’ RETORT
Amarinder Singh took a dig at the BJP’s ‘Modi effect’ campaign, saying that it might be the reason for poor monsoon predicted this year. And taking a direct shot at PM Narendra Modi over the 2002 riots, he said the poor monsoon might be retribution by God over what happened in Godhra in Gujarat in 2002.
Modi hit back obliquely. As Amarinder had described NDA’s agenda as “old wine in new bottle”, Modi said: “Unko sharab yaad aana swabhavik hai (It is only natural for him to remember liquor).” Modi did not name Amarinder. The comment drew laughter across party lines.